We happened to be present when the owner and senior management of a critically acclaimed, major new Manhattan restaurant got their mitts on the spanking-new Zagat guide and discovered that they’d been left off the all-important “most popular” list (which once again featured Gramercy Tavern and Union Square Cafe in the number one and two positions, respectively).
Manager One: “How is this possible?”
Manager Two: “Doesn’t anything ever change? What is going on with this?”
One: “Have we just not been here long enough?”
Two: “It’s all about reputation. The same people fill out the forms every year.”
One: “I can’t believe it!”
Later, the owner of the restaurant walked by.
Manager One: “Did you see this?”
Owner: “How is this possible?”
Etc. Fame begets fame, and the Zagat Survey is the ultimate restaurant popularity contest. (Look at how many people still think that Corner Bistro’s burger is the best in New York.) Of course, the guides are written by Mineola yokels and Ho-Ho-Kus matrons. We should know — we edited one.